updated 08:29 pm EDT, Wed September 18, 2013
Time and place shifting DVR said to infringe broadcast copyrights
Dish Networks -- more specifically, the Hopper DVR -- has emerged victorious in the latest chapter of its legal battle against the broadcast networks. Judge Laura Swain of the Southern District of New York has refused ABC's bid to kill the DVR and hobble its ad-skip feature. Today's victory is Dish's third victory regarding the Hopper DVR and related technology.
The networks have universally taken offense to the Hopper's auto ad-skipping feature, which allows users to blow past commercials with the push of a button on the remote. The broadcast networks claim that the feature damages the fragile ecosystem of content creation and broadcast, saying that if the advertisements aren't watched, then incoming advertising income will drop.
Dish has argued that it pays for the right to retransmit the content provided by the broadcast networks. Dish believes that the Hopper's time and location shifting technology doesn't infringe on any of the broadcaster's rights.
The ruling was not entirely positive for Dish. The judge also refused a petition by Dish to block ABC's threats to pull its content off the satellite television provider.
Dish Networks said in a statement that "this decision is yet another victory for American consumers. We are proud to have stood by their side in this important fight over the fundamental rights of consumer choice and control." ABC has not commented on today's ruling.